TERA's User Interface
Getting to know the ins and outs of the user interface (UI) for any game is an extremely important task for its players, no matter the genre. The UI in MMOs is no exception as it throws a great deal of information your way via the HUD and various menus and windows such as your inventory, skills, and profile pages.
With an ever-present barrage of information jumping out at you from your screen, trying to absorb and understand it all can be a daunting task. Don't worry though, with a few pointers and a bit of game time under your belt, you'll soon be wondering how anyone could live without it.
Let's take a look at a few of the key HUD elements that provide you with an almost omnipotent amount of knowledge in TERA!
This is arguably the most important element of the HUD. At a macro level it lets you know whether your character is alive or dead. Scaling down to a slightly more beneficial example, it lets you know how close to death you are, as well as the amount of mana you have stored and many other useful tidbits. By default, this information is shown at the top of the screen.
HP & MP
Starting at the top left of the screen, the red HP bar indicates how many health points you have, the more the better. When you hit 0 HP, you're dead. MP works in much the same manner, although you can survive without issue at 0 MP, you just won't be able to launch many attacks other than your default.
The single piece of player status information that does not reside at the top of the screen has chosen the polar opposite location for its lodgings. The XP progress bar is positioned at the very bottom of the game screen. When orange, you are earning XP at the normal rate. Whenever the bar is blue however, that indicates that you are earning XP at the rested rate, which is approximately double the normal speed. You can increase your rested rate time by ensuring that you return to large cities before you log out of the game.
Buffs and Debuffs
Whenever an action confers any kind of status adjustment to your character, whether it be positive(buff) or negative(debuff), you will find a small icon in the top right corner of the screen beside your compass that provides information about the effect when you hover the cursor over it. This information usually includes the effect's duration.
Navigation & Questing
Knowing the status of your character is all well and good, but if you're stuck in the middle of nowhere with no idea what to do, having the healthiest character in the world won't make for much of an enjoyable experience. Happily TERA's HUD provides some pretty useful tools that will help you to decipher where you are, where to go, and how to get there.
Depending on what's happening in the world of TERA, there can be a lot going on in the default compass area of the HUD.
Above the compass, you will see the name of the area you're currently in.
There are also a number of circular icons that display around the compass on occasion. These icons indicate the following (hover your cursor over them to find out which icon is which).
- When you're in a rest area
- When you have received an in-game mail
- When one of your items have sold on the Brokerage
- Political system status
- Dungeon finder
Various landmarks, points of interest and enemies can be located via the compass itself. You can specify what displays via the gear icon that displays when in UI mode.
The quest tracker can display up to 7 active quests. The tracker will provide the quest line name, as well as a sentence or two describing what must be done. Your progress in each quest will also be tracked. Clicking on a quest line title will pull up the full quest log. Here you can choose which quests are being tracked and highlight quest specific points of interest on your map by clicking on a name/location in the log.
- Red = story
- Yellow = normal
- Blue = guild
- Green = daily reputation
Quest Tracking in the 3D World
It should be noted that when you are venturing through the world of TERA, any items/beasts in the world itself that are pertinent to your current quests will be highlighted by a hovering symbol above them, regardless of whether or not the quest is currently being displayed as one of your 7 quests on the tracker. There are 3 symbols that can be seen. Story quests are red, all others are yellow.
Question Marks: These indicate individuals you need to talk to in order to continue a quest-line.
Exclamation Marks: On friendly NPCs these indicate that there are new quests that need to be collected. On enemy NPCs, these indicate beasts that you need to kill. Should you see a recyclable exclamation mark icon, that indicates a repeatable quest. Colour indicates the type of quests on offer
Asterisk: This indicates that you need to hand in a completed quest to the NPC.
A godsend from the navigation deities, you will be referring to this tool constantly throughout your adventure in TERA. The Mini-Map(Default Key = N) provides an easy to use overview of the area that you're currently in. This makes picking the ideal route to reach your destination a breeze. Not only does it do that, but it also highlights the locations of quest objectives and your fellow party members and friends.
Communication & Combat
Now that you know who you are, where you're located, and what your purpose is; it's time to gather a party to start dropping mobs and killing BAMs! While the UI for this aspect of the game may be pretty straightforward, you might still pick up a tip or two by reading the following!
This is the icon displayed in the center of the screen. The default melee reticule is a crosshair variant that generally stays consistent throughout the game. The reticule belonging to the ranged classes however is ever so slightly different. When pointing away from, or when it's out of range of, the enemy, the reticule will remain quite subdued. However once you target an enemy that's in range, the reticule will expand to become more prominent. For ranged classes, the reticule also has a number beside it indicating the distance between you and your target.
Whenever you land a successful blow to your foe, a number will display in their vicinity indicating the amount of damage that hit inflicted upon your target.
The Chat System
TERA's chat system provides the perfect portal through which you can communicate with those around you. A number of tabs are provided by default, each with their own individual setup. As with all of the UI in TERA, it is fully customizable, allowing you to rename various tabs, change text colour, and specify which messages make it into the various chat windows. Entering text into the chat window is as easy as hitting enter on your keyboard!
TERA's chat system also has a number of functions that can be carried out by using /command . I wonder what /dance might do ;)? I'm dancin', I'm dancin'!
When using the chat functionality in TERA, it is important to remember that there are multiple channels, each with a different purpose. We shall go through some of the most important below.
- Area: Purple by default, anything said in this chat is broadcast to those in the same area as you. Type /a to write in this channel
- General: Yellow by default, this is the primary global channel; every player above level 14 can use to chat with over players.
- LFG: Light blue by default, this is a global channel, meaning everyone on the server can read this text. The purpose of this channel is to make it easier for players to find groups of players to party up with. Type /LFG to write in this channel.
- Party: Dark Blue by default, anything said in this channel can only be seen by those in the same party as you. Type /p to write in this channel
- Guild: Green by default, anything said in this channel can only be seen by those in your guild, even if they are not in your party. Type /g to write in this channel
- Whisper: Pink by default, whispered text can only be seen by you and your chosen recipient. Type /w (PlayerName) , without the brackets, to chat privately to your selected player.
- Trade: Light red by default, this channel is used to barter for items you either want to purchase or sell.
The frantic nature of TERA's combat doesn't always leave much time for finding a safe spot to type commands to your teammates mid-combat. In order to prevent a complete loss of communication, the Quick Chat(Default Key = E) system has been designed to allow players to set predefined chat messages that can be issued mid-combat with the click of two buttons. These messages act just like normal messages, they display both in chat and above your head.
The skill bar allows you to easily map skills and the use of items to keys "1" through "= "(using a UK keyboard layout) and F1 to F12. Ensuring that you have the correct layout in your Skill Bar is one of the most important setup decisions you need to make in TERA. Remember, you don't always have to have all of your skills bound to the keyboard. With the right skill chains, you can streamline the way you fight by taking full advantage of the chained skills prompt to remove skills that you only use in chains, from the bar. To add skills and items to the bar, all you need to do is drag and drop them from their respective windows (Skill = K, Item = I).
It should be noted that half of the first tray of skill bar slots are hidden by default. There are three buttons on the right side of the skill bar. The first of these buttons allows you to expand the skill bar to display its full 12 slot width. The second button allows you to display an additional tray, and the third button can lock/unlock any kind of skill bar modification.
UI Mode & Customisation
When you hit Esc or Alt, the game will enter the UI mode and the action bar will appear, transforming your aiming reticule into a traditional MMO curser. This mode allows you to customize, resize, and reposition TERA's UI so that you may set it up to best suit the way you want to play the game. It also allows you to easily access many of the game's menus using your mouse cursor.
Custom Key Bindings: One particular option that many may find helpful is the ability to customize the key bind mapping to your own liking via the shortcut tab in the options menu. Doing this allows you to bind skills to keys all around your keyboard and mouse/controller, meaning your aren't restricted to just the number and "F" rows of keys.
While playing traditional MMOs with a controller may have been a rather clunky affair, TERA's True Action Combat and chained skill systems allow those who are interested in playing the game with a controller to do so with ease. In fact, this is such an important option in TERA that UI has been built into the game specifically to make mapping abilities easier, and to remind you which skill is where, should you forget.